Solar technology isn’t new, but as it stands in its current iteration, neither is it particularly efficient. Of course we are slowly getting there as time moves on and as technology gets better, and now thanks to the efforts of scientists at Harvard University, they have developed what they are calling a bionic leaf or an artificial leaf that could prove to more efficient than ever.
The idea behind this leaf isn’t so much about creating improved solar cells, but rather it was designed to try and mimic nature, in particular plants and their natural process of photosynthesis and make it even better by being able to store energy from the sun, and also reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
How it works is simple and has been described as using a jar that has been set up containing a little more than two electrodes. It is also filled with Ralstonia eutropha bacteria and water. After which electric current is then passed through the electrodes, which will break down the water molecules, and in turn releasing hydrogen gas. This hydrogen can be used as a source of energy but instead of going that route, researchers have opted to take advantage of bacteria that takes in hydrogen and carbon dioxide and use them to grow.
The end result is a system that the researchers claim is 10% efficient which does seem low, but at the same time it is higher than the established baseline of 8% for real-world performance. However right now one of the problems is figuring out a way to hook this system up to photovoltaic cells.